One of the “lies” of radical feminism is that women must identify as victims and fight oppression, which includes advocating for abortion. CNS file photo

Finding womanhood in a world of radical feminism

By  Anastasia Corkery, Youth Speak News
  • March 30, 2022

“The woman I was taught to be at home was completely contradicted by the North American culture,” recalled Dorothy Pilarski during her introductory remarks for the 2022 Calling All Girls conference on March 25.

The founder of Dynamic Women of Faith and Catholic Moms Group said this annual event’s intent is helping young women understand true femininity in a world of contradicting cultural messaging of what women ought to be.

Author and public speaker Noelle Mering delved into this theme extensively throughout her presentation entitled Contending with the Distortions of Becoming a Woman.

Mering, a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center, highlighted radical feminism as a cause for the modern loss of conception of womanhood. She identified three lies to combat in order to regain the proper meaning of femininity and explained how we should remedy them.

The first lie is the habit of women “defining themselves by victimhood and hatred.” She explained, according to the radical feminist ideology, women must define themselves by the “hatred of mankind” and “oppression they experience from men.” This mindset, she said, fundamentally reduces a woman’s identity to one of victimhood. Thus, to be considered a woman, one must actively fight this oppression. One example of this, she noted, is the advocation of abortion rights since pregnancy reveals woman’s true sexuality as a being able to give new life.

The second lie Mering called “expressive liberalism,” a calling for women to “transgress the moral law for the sake of liberation from patriarchal oppression.” She said this ultimately tells women that one’s body and sex itself are fundamentally meaningless. She identified this in the casual sex movement which encourages women to reject the concepts of exclusivity and permanence that they naturally associate with sex. Sex is only significant if a woman chooses it to be. This, she says, further rejects any objective dignity of the body.

“Bodies are putty, for us to do with what we want,” she said. 

The third lie is that women are defined “strictly through a lens for power.” She identified this as a Marxist principle: women are trained to see a fundamental inequality in any hierarchical structure. This is a reintroduction of equality as equity. It teaches that the greatest capability of a person is to achieve power. She directly contrasted this to the Catholic message of leadership through service in imitation of Christ, who died for us. Mering pointed out how the family demonstrates this through the mother and father’s service to their children and that we are not called to be radically independent but rather to live lives of service and, in doing so, find a true sense of joy.

Mering reflected, while radical feminism poses as a movement to help people, she believes that it does the opposite, harming more than helping.

She asked, what is a woman? She answered by saying men and women are different but equal, both made in the image of God. Every person is called to service and virtue, however, men and women are individually called to embody virtue in different ways.

She distinguished between fundamental feminine and masculine identity from their expressions through service saying, “these capacities are not defined strictly in what we do, they’re far more deeply defined as capacities we have just in our being.”

She closed her presentation, echoing the purpose of the conference, saying that the Virgin Mary offers the “true model of womanhood, and is, as Time magazine said, the “most powerful woman in the world.”

However, she reminded us, Mary’s power was found not in the seeking for power, but in service to others.

(Corkery, 20, is in her third year studying Literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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